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Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 421: W-X – Intro ++ BBC Radiophonic Workshop – Vespucci ++ Shintaro Sakamoto – Mask On Mask ++ The Makers – Don’t Challenge Me ++ Smokey – Strong Love ++ Shintaro Sakamoto – In A Phantom Mood ++ Ramases – Dying Swan Year 2000 ++ Jeff Phelps – Excerpts From Autumn ++ UFO Break ++ Starship Commander Woo Woo – Master Ship ++ Ty Segall – Squealer Two (edit) ++ David Bowie – Future Legend > Candidate (Intimacy Mix) ++ Faust – It’s A Bit Of A Pain ++ Joni Mitchell – The Jungle Line ++ White Fence – Trouble Is Trouble Never Seen ++ Jack Name – New Guitars ++ David Bowie – Sons of the Silent Age ++ Talking Heads/Brian Eno – Double Groove (Unfinished Take) ++ Wire – Used To (AD edit) ++ Ty Segall – Music For A Film 1 ++ Faust – Krautrock (AD edit) ++ The Rabble – Intro ++ Blossom Dearie – That’s Just The Way I Want To Be ++ T. Rex – Ride My Wheels ++ Sun Ra – We’re Living In The Space Age ++ T. Rex – Chrome Sitar ++ David Bowie – TVC 15 ++ Gary Numan – Films ++ Deerhuunter – Ad Astra ++ Talking Heads – Warning Sign (’77 demo version) ++ Kindness – Swinging Party ++ 6ix – I’m Just Like You ++ Lilliput – Die Matrosen ++ Pylon – Cool ++ Ought – Beautiful Blue Sky ++ Omni – Wire

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.
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Courtesy of Strut Records comes Soul Sok Sega: Séga Sounds From Mauritas, a twenty-two track collection exploring the ‘séga sounds’ that emerged from Mauritius (an island off the coast of Madagascar) between 1973-1979. The traditional music of Mauritius, dating back four centuries, Séga is known as the “blues” of the Indian Ocean. Below, native Mauritian and the compilation’s architect, Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick discusses the impetus of the collection and his own relationship with his island’s native sounds.

Soul Sok Sega Mix

One of my earliest memories as a child on my native island of Mauritius was sitting next to my grandmother on the beach beneath the filao trees watching the people dance whilst the musicians played the séga and sang songs that uplifted their spirits and magically mended their broken bodies after they had worked all day beneath the scorching sun in the sugarcane fields.

I wanted to become one of those magical healers, singing, playing the guitars, ravannes and triangles. This early exposure to the rhythms originally brought to the island by the slaves sung in a broken French dialect we call Creole would consume me and drive me on to a career in music that spans nearly four decades.

A little later at the age of eight at the many hotels on our coastlines, I would hear a more sophisticated version of the séga, complete with drum kits, electric guitars and basses, organs and pianos mixed with the traditional percussions and the essential ravannes. Some bands even had horns (a sound that would become a fixture in my arrangements). Those syncopated bass lines would play an important role in the music that I went on to make with my band Incognito. The groove and the bass became the foundations of my creations.

Shuggie Otis called it the inspiration information… I call it séga … Mauritian séga!” – Bluey

Related: Souljazz Orchestra :: French Caribbean Influence – A Mixtape

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On the heels of last year’s A Folk Set Apart, a decade in the making compilation of Cass McCombs b-sides, rarities and other detritus, comes something altogether new: The Skiffle Players.

Cass McCombs, Neal Casal, Dan Horne, “Farmer” Dave Scher and Aaron Sperske make up the quintet — the album, out February 12 via Spiritual Pajamas, is Skifflin. Set the dial for Californian coast & canyon mellow and grip a taste courtesy of the lp’s third track, “Til Stone Day Comes”, below.

Cass McCombs & The Skiffle Players :: Til Stone Day Comes

Related: Cass McCombs :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

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At the dawn of the 1980s, songwriter Paul Marcano and his band LightDreams emerged from the psychedelic haziness of the previous decade with Islands in Space, a concept album about the colonization of outer space. Recorded entirely on a Teac 4-track in Marcano’s home studio in Goldstream Park, outside Vancouver Island, the record featured collaborations with composers Andre Martin and Cory Rhyon and instrumental contributions by other friends. Homespun but expansive in scope, the finished record proclaimed humanity’s need to travel away from Earth via a mix of psychedelic folk, progressive rock, ambient, and new age soundscapes. This month, Got Kinda Lost Records reissues the record, offering a chance for new listeners to get turned on to Marcano’s cosmic message.

“I had read the book High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space by Gerard K. O’Neill, the astrophysicist, and he just completely altered the way I was thinking,” Marcano says via the phone, his voice brimming with enthusiasm. “I was coming out of the ‘70s with an agrarian hippie mentality, kind of anti-technology. [But I wondered] what’s a good alternative if you’re not going to go down the road of the future?”

LightDreams :: I Ride The Wind

Though Marcano empathized with the back-to-the-land movement, he recognized in the book a path toward the future that resonated with his natural concerns. “When I read High Frontier, I realized probably half the problems on the planet were resource based — there’s not enough of anything, or everything, I should say,” Marcano explains. “[The book proposed ideas] like farming asteroids, generating energy in space and beaming it down to Earth, rather than burning coal and all that. It just seemed like ‘What the hell, why not?’”

marcanoThe book also registered with his counter culture ideologies, igniting his imagination. “The psychedelic decade of the ‘70s had a massive impact on me,” Marcano says. “The psychedelic experience was kind of the virtual reality of the ‘70s. It was like another perspective, an entirely different way to perceive the world. Coming out of that, I was particularly receptive to new ideas.”

His thoughts on the cosmos, and his belief that humankind’s future waited in the stars, informed the sounds of Islands in Space. Opening with the playful guitar jam “The High Frontier,” Marcano and his collaborators evoke rock & roll motifs, but from there they explore synth-led ambient vistas, like the gentle “Voiceless Voice” and “Solar Winds.” Though it features progressive ideas, textures, and some artful abstraction, Marcano wanted the sounds to remain accessible, and largely, they do. “I didn’t believe there wasn’t room to make a decent pop sound that also had content, that wasn’t just about boy/girl relationships.”

Following the release of the album, he continued on with LightDreams, releasing 10,001 Dreams in 1982, Airbrushing Galaxies in 1983, and First Time Back a decade later in 1993. In 1984, he began working with computers, which has continued to inspire him creatively. “Right now, I’m actually working on a virtual reality Oculus Rift app for the Islands in Space album,” Marcano says, detailing an immersive 3D version of the record’s evocative album cover accessible via his Dreamscaping site. The convergence between futurism, science, and art is key to popularizing new concepts and exploration, Marcano says, citing astronaut Chris Hadfield’s cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from the International Space Station. “He brought that whole thing to life,” Marcano says. “He did that Bowie song up there. He showed the inspiration, the artistic element.”

Fundamentally optimistic about the prospect of the future. Space colonization still fascinates him, and he lights up while discussing potential “football fields full of solar panels in space [and] food growing in pestilence-free orbiting greenhouses.” Marcano thinks of his records as beacons of positivism in a time when dystopian futurescapes are often the norm in the field of speculative fiction (though he’s into those too — Blade Runner, especially). But beyond that, he doesn’t think of his records as works of science fiction.

“I never saw Islands in Space as a fantasy or sci-fi album,” Marcano says. “I saw it as a reflection of the concepts and ideas that we need to pursue. Somebody pointed out, “How can you sing ‘Islands in space will save the whole human race?’ and I said, ‘Well, years later, Stephen Hawking was saying the same thing.’ We’ve got to get off the planet.” words/ j woodbury

Hey, we could put on our shoes / we can celebrate when our hearts break and go laughing to that noose…”

homepageThat line, from “Slippin’ Shoes” off Tindersticks’ 2012 LP Something Rain, reads as something of a thesis statement for the Nottingham band, now 25 years into its career and sounding fresh, vibrant and brilliant as ever. That record and their latest, the recently released The Waiting Room, find the band at a creative peak – flourishing the melancholy and maudlin with beautiful visions of light and streaks of orchestral jazz. Stuart Staples is a master vocalist, employing his voice to convey the dramatic, the sentimental and the sullen. His poetry is draped in a swirl of organs, strings, horns, glockenspiels – a noir landscape for his observations on mystery, nostalgia, regret, beauty and hope.

The Waiting Room begins with the plaintive instrumental “Follow Me,” led by a chromatic harmonica (shades of John Barry’s Midnight Cowboy theme are immediately conjured), with tribal drumming and shimmering strings quietly playing underneath. We first hear Staples on “Last Chance Man.” His gloomy, entrancing vocals dimming the lights alongside a mournful organ. “I found love / before I could identify it / I found grace / before I could be mystified it,” he sings, a late realization at a love that enlightened him. As the percussion and saxophones start to ascend, Staples approaches a second chance. The horns sounds like a new lease on life as Staples promises to do it right this time, his cadence picking up speed. He’s feeling it all this time; this is where he thrives: the last chance.

Library music in excelsis. RIP the glorious workhorse that was the BBC Radiophonic Workshop –   the outfit tasked with the creation of music and sound effects for all BBC programming between 1958 to 1998. Enter Fourth Dimension – a 1973 Radiophonic Workshop library recordings release comprised solely of composer Paddy Kingsland’s work.

Dig in to the synthesized funk that is “Vespucci”, below. “Doctor Who” this is not.

BBC Radiophonic Workshop :: Vespucci

BO LAYERS

One does not need to know much about Bo Diddley to understand his contribution to the musical landscape as we know it. The “Bo Diddley Rhythm” he made famous was a tremendous influence on r&b, the early rock and rollers that followed, and beyond. I love all that stuff. There is something so perfectly gritty and grimy about it – all held together with that incessant, driving beat.

I’m also drawn to the darker side of the man’s work. When we first started Chances with Wolves we were looking for songs that felt a certain way, to help define the aesthetic we were going for. The very first song on the pilot episode of CWW was Bo Diddley’s “Prisoner of Love”. It just seemed a good place to start. Years later I found this slower version, which is hauntingly beautiful in its own right.

Bo Diddley :: Prisoner of Love
Bo Diddley :: Prisoner of Love (slow)

So, here’s a sampling of our favorite Bo Diddley haunters. Also note that “She’s Fine, She’s Mine” is the root of “You Don’t Love Me”, later performed by Willie Cobbs and many others (that version is included on the High Places mixtape we did for AD a while back), which eventually became Dawn Penn’s “No No No”. words / CWW

Bo Diddley :: She’s Fine, She’s Mine
Bo Diddley :: I Don’t Like You
Bo Diddley :: Aztec
Bo Diddley :: The Great Grandfather

Related: Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Chances With Wolves – Archives

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I think about Terry Kath every time a rock star dies. We’ve become accustomed to the cycle. It’s how we process the death of famous people now. The social media churn. The first 24 hours of wall-to-wall Facebook. The headlines, the think pieces, the tributes, the sharing of video. Then it gradually dissipates over the next 72 hours, until you are left alone with your own muscle memory – the way you identified with the artist yourself. You are alone with the artist, again.

Terry Kath shot himself in the head while fooling around with a 9mm handgun one week shy of his 32nd birthday, January 23, 1978. His last words were, according to bandmate James Pankow, “What do you think I’m gonna do? Blow my brains out?’ I found out about this by reading the October 16, 1978 People magazine cover story on Chicago while waiting to get my haircut in a local barbershop in Plainview, Long Island. I was eleven years old. There was a photo spread of the Chicago band members with their wives and babies. I remember a wave of nausea coming over me as I pored over the article in a disbelieving stupor. It made no sense at all. Terry Kath was my first experience with feeling something profound around a death. The sensation would soon become all-too familiar, with Keith Moon, Bonzo and others to follow. The difference was that news of Terry Kath’s death was traumatic for me, and I use that word with no irony, and with all its potency.

Now it’s 38 years on. It looks like we could see a little revival of appreciation for the great Chicago guitarist and singer now that his band is headed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His daughter, Michelle Kath Sinclair, only two when her father passed, has completed a documentary about her dad. She seems like a very sincere person who wants to get the Terry Kath story right, not just for the world but for herself, by learning as much as she can about a father she never really knew.

Chicago is one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, having sold well over 100 million records worldwide. Each one of Chicago’s eleven albums preceding Kath’s death went platinum. That kind of sustained success seems unfathomable today. Eleven albums is a sizable body of work for anyone, and there is plenty of Terry Kath to listen to, including lead vocals on indelible hits like “Colour My World”, “Wishing You Were Here”, and “Make Me Smile”, still heard in taxi cabs and piped into retail stores across the US every single day. His voice is a mellow baritone sounding most like bandmate Robert Lamm, his hero Jimi Hendrix, and Ray Charles. There are plenty of great moments to discover, notably the soulful “Hope For Love” from Chicago X; the experimental, corrosive “Free Form Guitar” from Chicago Transit Authority (Chicago’s very own mini-‘Metal Machine Music’, which pissed off fans immensely, recorded in one take); the bluesy strut of “In the Country” from Chicago II; “Little One” from Chicago XI, written by Danny Seraphine about his daughters but sung by Kath (touching to hear today if you think about Kath singing those words to Michelle); the loose, gritty “Mississippi Delta City Blues” written and sung by Kath and recorded for Chicago V, eventually surfacing on Chicago XI. Hendrix was supposedly a big fan of Kath’s guitar playing, and Kath wrote the expansive, tripped out “Oh, Thank You Great Spirit” for Jimi on Chicago VII. He was supposedly set to start work on a solo album at the time of his death. We get a hint of what that might have sounded like on the stirring 7:47 “Tell Me,” which is not on a Chicago album – an edited version of the track was used in the final episode of Miami Vice.

Kath killed himself four months after Chicago XI was released. The band was already contemplating a new direction as it would be the last album overseen by producer James William Guercio. Upon reading it again after 38 years, there are several interesting revelations in the People Magazine article I read in the barber shop. Robert Lamm says of Guercio : “Somewhere around our album Chicago V it went from ‘being taken care of’ to being manipulated. It was part him, part us . . .we were naive and idealistic and stuck to the music. Jimmy produced some great albums and encouraged and supported us financially in the beginning. But then he got up on a mountain and gave directives. It didn’t wear well.” It wasn’t just a business or musical direction that shifted in the aftermath; there was a marketing conundrum. The massively successful band had no identifiable star power.

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Cian Nugent has been primarily known for his instrumental work, both as a Takoma School-inspired fingerpicker and an electrifying bandleader (as heard on his incredible 2013 LP with the Cosmos, Born With The Caul). Night Fiction sees him slipping into a more traditional singer-songwriter role — and making it look like no big thing.

The album’s seven songs swing and swagger, calling to mind such legends as Fred Neil, Neil Young, and Michael Hurley, as well as more recent favorites like Kevin Morby, Steve Gunn and Cass McCombs. The scrappy vocals and wry lyrics are perfectly complemented by the Cosmos’ nimble folk rock backing — especially notable is the sensitive kitwork from drummer David Lacey. And of course, Cian hasn’t put his guitar away: every note he plays here is casually dazzling, with tones and taste worthy of the mighty Richard Thompson. “I’m not sure where I am anymore,” Cian sings sings on the gorgeously bewildered “Nightlife.” But Night Fiction as a whole suggests he’s found his voice. words / t wilcox

Cian Nugent :: Lost Your Way